Growing up in hot and humid Singapore, my Mom would make a side dish of “pachadi” (also known as raita depending on where you are in India). Pachadi for those of us from Tamil Nadu is a yogurt side dish with chopped cucumbers and tomatoes, although one could make it with pretty much any raw edible vegetable you had on hand. (Not to confuse people, but pachadi in Andhra Pradesh and Telengana is a side pickle dish without yogurt). Pachadi was always a favorite and we just couldn’t get enough of it because it instantly cooled you down in the tropics.
Now that I live here in New Jersey, while pachadi isn’t something I make routinely, I do make this chilled yogurt soup which reminds me of a soup version of the pachadi of my youth. Every summer I find myself with a bounty of herbs either from friends’ gardens or my own indoor herb garden and don’t always feel inspired to know what to do with them. If you’re in such a welcome predicament, I urge you to try this chilled yogurt soup recipe. Once again, it’s one of those “non-recipe” recipes where you can make this your own by adding whatever you have an abundance of. The above recipe is a guide in terms of quantities that suits my palate but feel free to change it out based on what you have on hand. I created this recipe based on the ingredients given to me by a friend who had an abundance of vegetables and herbs from her farm. But typically, the chilled yogurt soup I make at home consists of just yogurt, garlic, cilantro, jalapeños and salt and pepper. That’s about it.
As you can tell there are endless variations to this recipe. Have an extra shallot lying around? Add that to the blender, or if you don’t have dill but have parsley or cilantro instead? Add those. It’s a very forgiving recipe and absolutely perfect on those hot summer days.